Thanks to, or despite the pandemic, small business creation is booming. Last year saw a national average of 26% growth of small businesses, which is the highest percentage since as far back as 2005.
Many of these small businesses are thriving and now wondering how to expand. If you want to enjoy sustained growth and avoid the pitfalls of small business expansion, consider the following tips.
They will help you when expanding a business even in the ongoing challenges of a pandemic.
- Know Your Customer Base
The first step to growing a business is understanding who your customers are and what needs they have that you can fulfill. Without this knowledge, it’s difficult to develop an effective marketing strategy or choose the right location for your new store or office.
Get to know your customers on a personal level by surveying them, conducting focus groups, or simply talking to them one-on-one. Find out what they like and don’t like about your current products or services and ask what new products or services they’d like to see from you.
- Do Your Homework
Once you know who your target market is, it’s time to do some research on them. Try to understand their buying habits, what motivates them, and where they like to shop or spend their leisure time. This will give you valuable insights into how best to reach them and what kind of message will resonate with them.
It will also help you determine whether there’s a need for your product or service in the areas you’re considering expanding to. You can do this research yourself or hire a market research firm to do it for you.
- Create a Solid Business Plan
Before you start spending money on an expansion, it’s important to have a solid plan in place. This will help you stay focused and on track, and it will be something you can refer back to when things get tough.
Your business plan should include your goals for expansion, how you plan to achieve them, and what kind of budget you’re working with. It should also outline the risks involved and how you plan to mitigate them.
A note on defining your goals as this is very important. When doing this exercise, ask yourself what you hope to achieve by expanding. Do you want to grow your customer base, enter new markets, or improve your bottom line? Once you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, you can start making plans to make it happen.
- Make Sure You Have the Right Team in Place
No business can expand successfully without the right team in place. This includes not only managers and executives but also front-line staff, such as customer service representatives and salespeople.
Before you start expanding, take a close look at your current team and identify any gaps. If you need to, make some changes and hire new people who have the skills and experience you need to help you reach your goals.
Today’s climate opens up the global talent pool to find the right team members. Start by taking advantage of employer of record services to get you on the right path to expanding to an international business.
- Choose the Right Location
The location of your new store or office is critical to its success. Take the time to do your research and choose a location that’s convenient for your target market, and that offers good visibility and access.
If you’re expanding to a new city or town, make sure you have a good understanding of the local market. This includes things like the demographics of the area, the competition, and the economic conditions.
If your business is digital or online, you still need to choose a location for your office carefully. Consider things like the cost of living in the area, the availability of talent, and the quality of life.
- Have a Marketing Plan in Place
No expansion is complete without a solid marketing plan. This is especially important if you’re expanding to a new location where people may not be familiar with your brand.
Your marketing plan should include elements such as advertising, public relations, and social media. It should also outline how you plan to reach your target market and what kind of budget you have to work with.
- Lower Your Risks
There are always risks associated with expansion when running a business, but there are things you can do to minimize them. One way to do this is to start small and test the waters before making a major investment.
You can also try to partner with another company that’s already established in the area you’re expanding to. This can help you lower your costs and minimize your risks.
- Be Prepared for the Unexpected
No matter how well you plan, there will always be some things that are out of your control. Especially if you’re considering international expansion or hiring international employees. This is why it’s important to have a contingency plan in place for things like natural disasters, political instability, or economic downturns.
Make sure you have the financial resources in place to weather any storms that come your way. This includes things like cash reserves and lines of credit.
- Have a Plan for Continued Growth
Once you’ve successfully expanded your business, it’s important to continue developing your plans for expansion. This means setting new goals and making plans to reach them.
It’s also important to review your operations on a regular basis and make sure they’re efficient and effective. This includes things like your supply chain, marketing efforts, and financial processes.
- Celebrate Your Successes
Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. This will help keep you motivated and focused on your goals.
Enjoy Success When Expanding a Business
Expanding a business is a major undertaking, but it can be a very rewarding experience. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success and make the most of the opportunity.
If you enjoyed these business tips, check out our other articles for more.